Yesterday I found myself heading for Durham alongside playmate Howard and Philly. We were all coming from different directions and meeting up on a train in York.
I use to be able to get a direct train from Beverley to York but the powers that be in their wisdom decided to do away with this service. So now I have to change in Hull and wait for 30 mins for the train to York. I’d prefer going on the bus from Beverley but they also stopped the early morning service for this one too even though both were well used 🙄
Anyway a 30 min wait in Hull allows me to trundle across the road to Greggs to get a cuppa tea. You may wonder why I don’t go to Starbucks or Costa which are in the station…….well their tea is rubbish……simple😊
So the taxi turned up on a lovely fresh spring day. I got my cuppa tea and then began the slow stopping journey to York…..the sky over the Humber teasing us with promise of a nice day ahead…..
Someone came up to me on the train to say they’d read the article about me and my daughter in the Sunday Times😳 …….well on Sunday 31st, which is apparently Mothers Day, for those who get it, I’ve written an article for the Observer. The photographer came yesterday and won the prize for the most photographic equipment ever to enter my house😂 It was nice that they asked me to write my own article ☺️
I’ve been soooo tired this last week and my mojo has gone absent without leave….but it would do me good to be out and about with lovely people. I know why I’m going – to do a Dementia Diaries Live session – but can’t remember who to🙄 so I’ll have to wait for Philly to find out that bit.
Crikey, waffling or what!……..
Anyway, I got to York, and was met by Philly and we sat and had a cuppa tea before meeting Howard on the train to Durham. Philly went through why we were going.
We’re apparently visiting residents and staff at Housing 21 Extra care – independent living with 24hr care staff on site. John, the Dementia lead for the organisation, picked us up from Durham station and Vanessa Pritchard Wilkes from Twitter met us outside Bramble Hollow.
Philly got us here under false pretences as she said we’d be a small group of 10 however we walked into a lovely room of 60 staff and residents😳 from many of Housing 21’s housing courts. We just happen to be here in Bramble Hollow. What a lovely name with not a bramble in sight……
We started off by chatting and telling everyone why we were there. They started to get very excited about the fact we were doing a ‘performance’ – we told them not to get too excited as we’d forgotten our tutus🤣😂🤣
I asked how Housing 21 got it’s name – Vanessa gave the answer – because they wanted to provide care for the 21st century……
Me, Howard and Philly then did our live performance by reading diaries recorded by many people about a variety of subjects, including a lovely poem by Howard himself which they all really liked and applauded.
You might think Dementia Diaries involve writing a diary, but in fact we record whatever we want to say by ringing a magic number and speaking into a telephone. It’s sort of an answerphone where we can ramble on for a couple of minutes.
Lunch time was a liquid affair for me with a few cups of tea, but everyone else tucked into hot or cold food from their in house restaurant. I’d only taken 5 books (mainly cos I only thought there’d be a handful of people and sold them within minutes of lunch starting. But Vanessa ordered more online for those that wanted one. After lunch we sat and chatted with everyone about what sort of Diaries they could do. But they all went shy and no one wanted to give it a go.
I then asked if anyone would like to do a double act with me and suddenly volunteer hands went up and we brought the audience alive with our banter. So I had a wonderful time with 3 volunteers, Marjorie, Elaine and Sue recording a diary live with me asking them about where they lived. It was so much fun with so much laughter and engagement from the audience and so simple to do. Everyone needs a bit of encouragement and a playmate to do their first diary.
Dementia diaries is being launched as Housing 21’s new initiative which is wonderful to hear. All staff were on board and so enthusiastic to take it back to their individual places.
Many residents came up and chatted to me and Howard afterwards. Hugs were exchanged and laughter shared. It left me feeling very happy at the end of the day that we’d come into a roomful of strangers and left having made many friends.
If you live with dementia and live in the UK (sorry everyone else!) and would like to find out more, let me know and I’ll pass on your email details to Philly or Rachel. You might want to share a poem, or views on something, or just say hello and tell us your story. I’d love to hear from you, anyone living with dementia is welcome and all voices are heard.
If you’re not living with dementia and would like to volunteer to transcribe some of our ramblings, you can find out the details on the link below by clicking on the tab at the top about volunteering…..
It had been a very long day and we all yawned our way through the train journey. We found ourselves in the ‘Quiet Coach’…….mmmmm that was always going to be a challenge but we only got told of once -ha!
Philly leafy us at York and me and Howard parted company at Doncaster. My head banging, as I’m sure it would for the next 24hrs, but there was a lovely calming sun setting over the Humber..